OFMI – Proposed Gandhi bust in Georgia protested for Indian icon’s racism

“He thought of Africans as subhuman,” say Gwinnett County residents

Lilburn – Georgia – USA, 08 October 2019. A diverse coalition of residents of Gwinnett County, in northern Georgia, united on 06 October around the common cause of opposing the proposed installation of a Gandhi bust.

“We’re going to stop it from happening,” Cheryle Renee Moses told the local CBS news channel at a rally held in the City of Lilburn’s Bryson Park. The park is the planned location for the proposed bust, which is intended to be installed on October 19. Residents upset about the bust, however, are relying on more than public pressure.

They are hiring an attorney and hope to file a lawsuit to block the bust. Last year, similar action stopped a proposed Gandhi statue in the southern central African country of Malawi. Activists there protested Gandhi for the same reasons.

“Gandhi’s statues are being taken down all around the world,” said Moses, who was the Democratic nominee for Georgia State Senate District 9 in Gwinnett County. “He thought of Africans as being subhuman.

African-Americans are the majority-minority in Gwinnett County, so to put up a statue of a person who was racist against Africans is insulting to many of the citizens that live here. These are their tax dollars going to maintain the erection of a man who cannot stand us.”

On 03 October Dr Charles Steele Jr, president and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, commented on the controversy. “He’s been called a racist here in the last few weeks,” said Dr Steele, speaking from the SCLC headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

“The University of Ghana just removed his statue. It’s so deep in terms of racism. You’re talking about America, but it’s all over the world. What we have to do is address it, we have to confront it, and we can’t hide it under the rug.”

The bust, proposed by non-profit Indian Friends of Atlanta, has faced protest for at least the past two weeks. On 01 October, Moses appeared at the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners’s public hearing to speak against the project. Earlier, Jerry Jones and Nanak Singh registered opposition from Organization for Minorities of India at a September 24 Board of Commissioners’s hearing.

“Statues installed around the world have provoked international headlines and protests as many continue to confront the facts of Gandhi’s hard reputation as a racist, sexual deviant, and religious extremist,” said Jones at the September 24 hearing. “Not only did Gandhi harbor racist opinions, but he enthusiastically acted upon them by promoting racism during his time in South Africa.

He demanded segregation of blacks and Indians and even served as a Sergeant-Major in the British war against the black Africans. His efforts in India have been undermined by his sexual abuse of teenage girls from his own family.”

“The world must learn and evolve and reevaluate the people it puts on pedestals,” remarks Arvin Valmuci, a spokesperson for OFMI. “Gandhi was viciously and unapologetically racist against black Africans. Besides the problem of promoting a racist, we must also consider what message putting up a statue of Gandhi sends about how we should treat women.

Gandhi molested his teenage grandnieces while they were in his power. In this age of the Me Too movement, we must listen to the cries of the women who were abused by Gandhi. We stand against all commemorations of Gandhi everywhere because his life represented a rejection of the values of love, peace, and nonviolence.”

Organization for Minorities of India was founded in 2006 to advance individual liberties of Christians, Buddhists, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, and all Mulnivasi people of South Asia by encouraging secularism, progressive human rights, liberation of oppressed peoples, and universal human dignity. Visit OFMI.org for more information.